Tue. Sep 19th, 2023
    Latgale Planning Region Seeks Electric Vehicle with Four-Wheel Drive and 500-Kilometer Range

    The Latgale Planning Region (LPR) in Latvia is known as the poorest and most disadvantaged region in the country, with low average incomes and high unemployment rates. In an effort to stimulate growth and economic development, LPR recently launched a transport tender for a new vehicle. The technical specification of the tender requires an electric car with four-wheel drive capable of traveling at least 500 kilometers on a single charge.

    However, these specific requirements pose a challenge for potential bidders, as there are currently very few models available on the market that meet both criteria. The four-wheel drive feature requires a car with two electric motors, while the 500-kilometer range demands advanced battery technology. Only seven potential candidates meet these criteria, including the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Tesla Model Y Long Range, Mercedes EQC 400, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.5 GTX, Skoda Enyaq 80c, and Audi e-tron Q8 S.

    Interestingly, none of these cars fall within the specified “small off-road” class in the tender’s purchasing conditions. Instead, they belong to the “compact off-road” class as defined by the Latvian Automobile Association. This discrepancy led to the termination of the tender due to an error in the specification.

    The need for an electric car with four-wheel drive and substantial range autonomy is due to the current state of LPR’s vehicle fleet, which consists of older vehicles with significant mileage. The fleet includes a 2013 VW Golf, a 2015 VW Golf, a 2016 Opel Mokka, and a brand-new 2022 Peugeot 208. The Peugeot 208 purchased last year is an electric car with a range of over 400 kilometers, but in real-world conditions, its range is closer to 285 kilometers and lacks four-wheel drive.

    LPR justifies the requirement of a 500-kilometer range by stating that its employees often undertake long business trips to distant cities such as Tallinn, Helsinki, Ventspils, and Vilnius. However, industry experts argue that this requirement unreasonably increases the price of the car. In practice, it is unlikely that such long distances will be driven without stopping to charge, which can be combined with meals or work en route to the destination. Moreover, driving such distances without taking breaks is not recommended for safety reasons, especially during harsh Baltic winters.

    The need for four-wheel drive is associated with fulfilling specific tasks and functions established in LPR’s regulatory acts. For example, four-wheel drive would be useful for employees conducting bus stop surveys or visiting the Latgale Special Economic Zone Administration.

    Overall, LPR’s transport tender for an electric car with four-wheel drive and a 500-kilometer range highlights the region’s commitment to sustainable and efficient transportation. While the selected car is likely to come at a higher cost, it is expected to contribute to the economic development and operation of the Latgale Planning Region.

    – Source 1: Latvian Public Broadcasting
    – Source 2: Knutsis News Latvia


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